LeVar Burton Reads Writing Contest Winners

The winners of the LeVar Burton Reads Writing Contest were announced February 17, and their stories were published yesterday at Tor.com.

Working under the theme ”Origins & Encounters,” each of these stories examines the ways in which blended civilizations and cultural exchanges would affect the subject of faith, languages, racial prejudice, gender recognition, and concepts of community and identity.

There were over 700 entries. The winners were personally selected by LeVar Burton.


“The Last Truth” by AnaMaria Curtis

Eri risks everything to work as a ship’s lockbreaker; every magical luggage seal she breaks erases a memory. Her contract is almost up, and she weighs how many truths she must lose before she can be free. When a passenger asks for help, Eri decides whether this beautiful violinist is worth undoing herself entirely.

Hear LeVar Burton read “The Last Truth” on Stitcher. Read the text of the story here: “The Last Truth”. Tor.com’s interview with AnaMaria Curtis: “Seven Questions for the Finalists of the LeVar Burton Reads Writing Contest: AnaMaria Curtis”.


“Girl Oil” by Grace P. Fong

Chelle, an aspiring actress in Los Angeles, feels the heat of competition when she and her roommate Wenqian audition for the same roles. Much worse is the envy Chelle feels when her best friend confesses feelings for Wenqian. Could an experimental new beauty oil help solve all of her problems — or lead to more disastrous results?

Read the story here: “Girl Oil”. Tor.com’s interview with Grace P Fong: “Seven Questions for the Finalists of the LeVar Burton Reads Writing Contest: Grace P. Fong”.


“Synthetic Perennial” by DaKishia Reid, writing as Vivianni Glass

K’Mori has died once already. Brought back to life, she struggles with the limits of her reanimation while the world struggles with its meaning.

Read the story here: “Synthetic Perennial”. Tor.com’s interview with Vivianni Glass: “Seven Questions for the Finalists of the LeVar Burton Reads Writing Contest: Vivianni Glass”.


  • “The Chinatown Mission House for Wayward Girls” by James Longine Yu

The first place winner receives $500, with their story being read by LeVar Burton on his podcast. The second place winner gets $250, and the third place winner, $100.

The contest was produced in collaboration between LeVar Burton Reads podcast, Tor.com, and FIYAH Magazine. The top three winning entries have been edited by Diana M. Pho and L.D. Lewis.